Family Support Advisory Group minutes: 24 March 2022

Minutes of the Scottish Government Family Support Advisory Group (FSAG) meeting which took place on 24 March 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Jane Moffat, Scottish Government (SG) Strategy, The Promise and Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)


  • Claire Burns, Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELCIS)
  • Nancy Fancott, representing Maureen McAteer, Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland (CCPS)
  • Lyndsay Fraser Robertson, Children in Scotland
  • Jillian Gibson, COSLA
  • Mary Glasgow, CCPS
  • Anne Lee, Public Health Scotland
  • Fraser McKinlay, Consultant
  • Morven Ross, East Lothian Council
  • Fiona Steel, Children’s Sector Strategic Forum
  • Judith Tait, Social Work Scotland
  • Wendy Mitchell, SG Chief Nursing Officer Directorate
  • Ann Sangster, Children’s Sector Strategic Forum, Third Sector Interfaces
  • Gavin Russell, SG Children and Young People’s Improvement Collaborative (CYPIC)
  • Joanna MacDonald, SG Deputy Chief Social Work Adviser
  • Bryony Revell, SG Strategy and GIRFEC Hub
  • Franca Macleod, SG Analytical Services
  • Chris Martin, SG Children and Families analysis
  • Christian Barry, SG Early Learning and Childcare
  • Nicola Forrest, SG Early Learning and Childcare
  • Joanna MacKenzie, SG Early Learning and Childcare
  • Rebecca Valentine, SG Early Learning and Childcare
  • Jackie Brennan, SG Social Justice Delivery Unit
  • Arshia Ramzan, SG Social Justice Delivery Unit
  • Emma Honeyman, SG Social Justice Delivery Unit
  • Darren Tierney, SG Social Justice Delivery Unit
  • Fiona Clements, SG Improving Lives for People with Care Experience Unit
  • Cara Cooper, SG Strategy and GIRFEC Hub
  • Kerry Harkness, SG School Age Childcare
  • Vivienne McComb, SG School-age Childcare
  • Marie McQuade, SG School Age Childcare
  • Kate Smith, SG School Age Childcare
  • Sarah Bruce, SG Family Unit
  • Laura Holton, SG Family Unit
  • Jaime Neal, SG Family Unit
  • Mary Sloan, SG Family Unit - Secretariat


  • Jacqui Pepper, Co-Chair, Perth and Kinross Council
  • Christine Carlin, Children’s Sector Strategic Forum
  • Douglas Guest, Children’s Sector Strategic Forum – Third Sector Interfaces 
  • Brian Houston, The Promise Scotland
  • Christina Spicer, The Promise Scotland
  • Susan McGhee, Social Innovation Partnerships

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Jane Moffat welcomed everyone to the meeting, in particular those attending for the first time. She noted Jacqui Pepper, Co-Chair, was unable to attend. Brian Houston now represented The Promise on the Group but he too was unable to attend this meeting. Nancy Fancott was representing Maureen McAteer for Coalition of Care Providers Scotland (CCPS).

Jane updated the group on the actions from the last meeting:

  • Directors’ group membership has been added to the Teams channel
  • Jane thanked members for their discussions on membership of the group going forward. The updated membership would be circulated in due course

Outstanding actions:

  • Whole Family Wellbeing Funding (WFWF) outcomes – progressing with analytical colleagues and would be tabled at the next meeting - to note that draft outcomes for WFWF were included in the spending proposals paper which the group had commented on
  • members of the group to let the secretariat know the other SG groups they are on – only two responses had been received to-date


  • members are requested to access the channel to look at papers etc and to let the team know if they have problems
  • members who have not already responded to let the SG know of other SG groups of which they are a member

Whole Family Wellbeing Funding (WFWF) spending proposals 2022 to 2023

The Chair noted that this was the first time the group was meeting as the reconstituted Family Support Advisory Group (FSAG), the role of which was to help shape advice to Ministers relating to the WFWF and activity relating to holistic family support. FSAG views would be fed into the Directors’ Group on Improving Outcomes for Children and Families which was the senior governance group for WFWF in 2022 to 2023. The Spending Proposals were the first item for FSAG’s consideration.

Laura Holton thanked the Group for the input to the spending proposals paper which had been circulated previously for comment, noting a lot of contributions had been received and many bilateral discussions had taken place. The Collective Leadership Group (CLG) had also been asked for written feedback. Laura fed back key themes from the contributions received which had been addressed in the revised draft of the paper tabled for the meeting:

  • the importance of the spending criteria reinforcing collaborative decision making between all partners at local level, in particular the Third Sector
  • the view that the funding should be provided on a multi-year basis, to support effective recruitment, retention and planning
  • clarification on the purpose of intensive support provided to Children’s Services Planning Partnerships (CSPPs) under tranche 2A of the proposals – this was about collaborative partnership activity to accelerate national learning about whole system change
  • variety of views on using Grant Aided Expenditure (GAE) and Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) to inform allocation of funding - SG was exploring the options with finance colleagues - rurality would also be a factor in the formula
  • concern that long timeframes for commissioning and procurement had the potential to slow the delivery of activity funded by the WFWF. SG was exploring the potential of offering CSPPs the option to request that part of their allocation is routed directly to their local Third Sector Interface (TSI)
  • proposals that the language around children’s rights should be strengthened - high level impact asssessments were in development

In addition to reflecting this feedback, other key changes to the paper included:

  • funding for CSPPs in tranche one and two had been merged to support flexibility between scaling up services and supporting whole system change
  • the indicative funding split between the tranches had been proposed as – tranche one: £32 million, tranche two: £3 millon, and tranche three: £15 million
  • lines had been included to clarify that the year one funding would not be drawn from a reduction or cut to existing grants or funding streams provided to CSPP partners
  • new wording noted that it was expected that the first year spend should focus on the families most in need, in particular the six priority families - the longer term ambition was that whole family support would be available to all families who need it
  • the requirement for CSPPs to give SG a plan for the spend and to contribute to evaluation activity had been made more explicit

Many other comments had been received which were helpful in informing some of the detailed work sitting beneath the spending proposals, ie criteria for spend.

In discussion, the following points were made:

  • clarity was requested on the purpose and operation of tranche three
  • Laura advised there was a number of pieces of transformative work across SG supporting families and tranche three provided an opportunity to look across Government and consider where WFWF could add value to activity which was aligned with the ambitions of the funding
  • FSAG would be asked to comment on proposals for tranche three spend to inform consideration by Directors’ Group
  • the funding split between tranche two and tranche three should be reconsidered
  • given the scale of the challenge around whole system change, it was considered that tranche two should receive a more significant proportion of the funding
  • it was also noted that an element of flexibility between the level of funding for these two tranches should be retained
  • WFWF and future development of the third sector fund (currently the Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention and Adult Learning and Empowering Communities (CYPFEI and ALEC) fund needed to connect and complement each other
  • it was noted that the SG team was connecting and actively engaged with the development of the new third sector fund to ensure alignment
  • how do we balance local assessments of need as well as encouraging a focus on things that make the biggest impact?
  • the how good is our family support self-assessment framework was important here, and also the work via tranche two (a) to create a learning into action network
  • learning from past experience of partners like CYPIC, CELCIS and FSAG members could help us direct people to practice that makes the biggest difference
  • opportunities around The Promise Ideas Bank should also be explored
  • reaching the goal that from 2030, we will be investing at least 5% of all community-based health and social care spend in preventative whole family support measures would be an enormous task - need to be clear how to make it happen - some areas are close, others aren’t
  • need to be explicit that transformational change will take time

FSAG agreed the proposals to be submitted to Directors’ Group for consideration.

Whole Family Wellbeing Funding (WFWF) – tranche two (a) CSPP support proposal

Gavin Russell and Liz Shevlin gave an introduction to tranche two and the role of the Centre of Expertise, which has been established to support collaborative working across Government in the transformational space.

Gavin Russell highlighted proposals for supporting Children’s Services Planning Partnerships (CSPPs) under tranche two (part one and two) and outlined the challenges of how to deliver change in a complex environment.

Part one of the proposal focussed on intensive collaborative partnerships with two or three CSPPs. CSPPs and SG would work jointly through a structured process of sustainable change – giving tailored support to each CSPP to develop local approaches, as well as share learning more widely.

Part two of the proposal would support all CSPPs through the development of a Learning into Action Network.

In discussion, the following points were made:

  • it would be important to understand and develop connections with The Promise Design School and other existing activity aimed at supporting transformational change
  • there were opportunities to build on the experience of The Promise partnerships, which the Centre of Expertise would be keen to explore
  • remember capacity issues locally - need a local designated team to make change happen, the external team supports the quality improvement journey
  • tranche two would support CSPPs to join up with partners and to streamline the strategic planning landscape
  • how do we choose areas for intensive collaboration?
  • it would be important to think about selection criteria for local areas and what needs to be in place prior to funding - such as a designated local team

Proposals would continue to be developed, informed by discussions with partners. Criteria for identifying collaborative partnerships would be developed.

Any other business (AOB)

There was no AOB.

Date of next meeting

The next meeting will take place towards the end of April, early May.

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